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Cancer Sci. 2012 Nov;103(11):1955-60. doi: 10.1111/cas.12004. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Establishment of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor-resistant cancer cell lines and therapeutic strategies for overcoming the resistance.

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Division of Molecular Pharmacology, Cancer Chemotherapy Center, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tokyo, Japan; Research Laboratory, Zenyaku Kogyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Acquired resistance is a major obstacle for conventional cancer chemotherapy, and also for some of the targeted therapies approved to date. Long-term treatment using protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as gefitinib and imatinib, gives rise to resistant cancer cells carrying a drug-resistant gatekeeper mutation in the kinase domain of the respective target genes, EGFR and BCR-ABL. As for the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors (PI3Kis), little is known about their acquired resistance, although some are undergoing clinical trials. To address this issue, we exposed 11 human cancer cell lines to ZSTK474, a PI3Ki we developed previously, for a period of more than 1 year in vitro. Consequently, we established ZSTK474-resistant cells from four of the 11 cancer cell lines tested. The acquired resistance was not only to ZSTK474 but also to other PI3Kis. None of the PI3Ki-resistant cells, however, contained any mutation in the kinase domain of the PIK3CA gene. Instead, we found that insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) was overexpressed in all four resistant cells. Interestingly, targeted knockdown of IGF1R expression using specific siRNAs or inhibition of IGF1R using IGF1R-TKIs reversed the acquired PI3Ki resistance. These results suggest that long-term treatment with PI3Kis may cause acquired resistance, and targeting IGF1R is a promising strategy to overcome the resistance.

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